Appreciating or Wanting?

I fluctuate between wanting the present moment to be different than it is, and appreciating it exactly as it is, with all it brings. I fluctuate between wanting to be better and appreciating myself just as I am.

My default mode seems to be the wanting one. I have this unending desire to be a better man. I want to be a kinder, gentler, more generous, patient, and peaceful human being, and this desire constantly propels me to do more, read more, study more, meditate more, reflect more, and write more.  And because I believe this pursuit to be a worthy and noble one — and one that can be reached through work — I keep doing the things I believe will bring me closer to the desirable goal.

But, unfortunately, while in the middle of doing all these things, I constantly forget to remind myself that this pursuit to be better has no end, because no matter where I may be, improvement is always possible. And since I am pursuing a target that is constantly moving — and is always ahead of me — this unending struggle can be exhausting! So I have to pause and ask myself, “Do I really need to be more? Do I really need to do more? Can’t I find contentment with myself as I am? Am I not enough already? What am I chasing?” I need to remind myself that no matter how noble the goal may be, a chase is always a chase, and every pursuit is a struggle.

Those times when I am able to switch from the wanting mode to the appreciative mode, I realize that everything is fine, and that I don’t need to be any different; I don’t need to be more, or do more. I realize that expressing my uniqueness — which is revealed through living with authenticity — is the best thing I can do, the best contribution I can give to the world. But to get out of the wanting mode in order to live more in the appreciative mode, I need to practice. I need to remember to live mindfully, and as the saying goes, “It is not difficult to be mindful. What’s difficult is to remember to be mindful!” Practice is needed. I have to remind myself to pay attention to the here-now, and appreciate whatever the present moment may bring. I have to remind myself to follow my bliss and find joy in all that I do.

I notice a lack of balance: I spend too much time striving, and not enough time appreciating. I spend too much time demanding a lot from myself, and not enough time pampering myself.

Enough with all the striving! Time to switch modes! I am enjoying the present moment, this moment, right here, right now, in all its beauty.

My body is healthy. My mind is clear. My heart is joyful. And my soul is serene.


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

><

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org


 

 

Return to Innocence

A good friend told me about his recent trip and the great experience he had with his little grandchildren. He told me that now that he is practicing mindfulness he was able to really be in the here-now with them, immersing himself more fully in their world, something that he hadn’t experienced before. He was able to better observe them and realize the depth of their curiosity, as well as their genuine amazement with what they were seeing and discovering for the first time. We talked about how vital it is for us, adults, to keep this curiosity and capacity for amazement alive. And we reflected on the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Yes, the kingdom is right here, right now. Heaven is here if we want it to be.

I always heard that children are innocent, but only now, almost three decades after the birth of my first child, I can say that I understand what that truly means. The practice of mindfulness opened my eyes, allowing me to see this innocence anew and realize how incapable I was of grasping its essence, meaning, and beauty before.

I feel deeply that children are the greatest teachers. They live in the here-now. We — with our fears, worries, and regrets — are the ones who remove them from the enjoyment of the present moment, telling them that they have to push themselves to be more, do more, and have more. We are the ones who instill in them all the things that spoil their innocence.

I remember my kids during the first decade of their lives, when they were discovering the world. How innocent they were! How I wish I could go back with what I know now, and instead of trying to teach them, simply relax and learn from them.

><

I facilitated a silent retreat yesterday and spent time in nature, walking mindfully in a beautiful botanical garden. This morning, I received an advice that I should spend more time in nature. Unexpectedly, the music video of the song “Return to Innocence” by Enigma — that I watched many years ago — came to my mind. Watching it again made me remember the innocence of my sons. I remembered cutting my oldest son’s hair and teaching him to ride a bicycle. I remembered the two of us watching the sunrise together, while he pointed at the sun, talked to the ocean in his own universal language, and smiled.

I also remembered the love I received from the women who shared their lives with me. I remembered myself as the writer whose words vanished from the pages. I remembered myself as the sower of seeds of mindfulness. I remembered myself as the shepherd who followed his sheep as we, together, returned to innocence.

An old man remembers.

A newborn remembers.

I remember.

Return To Innocence

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Don’t care what people say
Follow just your own way
Follow just your own way
Don’t give up, don’t give up
To return, to return to innocence.

If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Songwriters: M.C. Curly
Return To Innocence lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

It’s just a thought

Where do thoughts come from? Who generates them? What is this non-stop narration that we hear in our heads? Who does the talking? And who does the listening?

><

After a great performance, you were joyfully and justifiably relishing in the praise, celebrating, feeling really good, having a great time. Then, something happened that caused an interruption of those good feelings and spoiled that moment for you: you were accused of something you didn’t do. Evidence was brought to light, and soon things were clarified, proving that you hadn’t done anything wrong. Those who accused you apologized with sincerity, and even gave you a gift as a compensation for their hurried misjudgment.

Now, rather than returning to the enjoyment of the present moment, you kept ruminating the accusation, totally ignoring all the good you recently experienced, and could be experiencing still. You had a difficult time letting go of the bad and redirecting your attention to the good that came out of it — a sincere apology and a gift —  proving, one more time, that “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, and like Teflon for positive ones.” You kept repeating to yourself, “I am hurt,” but, in reality, who was hurt? Your image? Your reputation? Your ego? And what are those things if not abstractions, if not thoughts, just thoughts?

Time to think: “Why does blame stick for such a long time and praise wash away so fast?”

There’s no need to retell painful stories and revive upsetting emotions.  We can remain their prisoners, or we can liberate ourselves by simply saying, “It’s just a thought.” Let us give them a shoulder shrug, and move on! Let us enjoy what is good in our lives, right here, right now, without magnifying what is bad. Let us remember that everything comes and goes. One moment, gain, the next moment loss. One moment, pleasure, the next, pain. One moment, praise, the next, blame. Everything is impermanent, and nothing stays the same. The past is gone. And what is the past if not a thought in the present moment?  

Let it go. It’s just a thought!

><

Do not retell painful stories and revive upsetting emotions.  You can choose; you can remain their prisoner, or you can liberate yourself by simply saying, “It’s just a thought.”  Give them a shoulder shrug, and move on! Enjoy what is good in your life, right here, right now, without magnifying what is bad. Remember that everything comes and goes. One moment, gain, the next moment loss. One moment, pleasure, the next, pain. One moment, praise, the next, blame. Everything is impermanent, and nothing stays the same. The past is gone. And what is the past if not a thought in the present moment?  

Let it go. It’s just a thought!


 

Doing without Doing

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Wu Wei” is Chinese for non-doing  or non-action.  It refers to creating without striving, without excessive effort, without trying to desperately control the outcome.

“Wei Wu Wei” is action without action, the competence of easily achieving results without really having to do much at all. It brings to my mind images of allowing Life to flow naturally while trusting the Universal Wisdom, obeying the commands of our Inner Voices, and offering ourselves to be used by the the Universe to create through us.

“The Sage is occupied with the unspoken and acts without effort. Teaching without verbosity, producing without possessing, creating without regard to result, claiming nothing, the Sage has nothing to lose.” ~ Lao Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching


 

Flowing in the zone

Do you remember those times in your life when you were fully focused and energized, thoroughly enjoying what you were doing, feeling that you weren’t really doing anything and that things were being done through you? Do you remember being in that state of complete immersion in the present moment while performing a task, with a calm confidence that everything you wanted to achieve was possible? Do you remember your amazement with the extraordinary results you were getting spontaneously and effortlessly, without thinking or striving too much? Do you remember losing track of time, feeling that everything slowed down like in a slow motion movie, and hours went by like minutes?

Many athletes and artists have told us that during their hyper-focused experiences they feel as if they are in a special zone where everything flows naturally, easily, without obstructions.

The practice of mindfulness expands one’s ability to enter “the zone” and stay in this state of “flow.”


 

Peace comes through the work we do to improve ourselves

Today we celebrate the birth of Peace Pilgrim, one of the wisest teachers of harmony that the world has ever known.

“In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful. Among mature people war would not be a problem – it would be impossible. In their immaturity people want, at the same time, peace and the things which make war. However, people can mature just as children grow up. Yes, our institutions and our leaders reflect our immaturity, but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions. It always comes back to the thing so many of us wish to avoid: working to improve ourselves.” ~ Peace Pilgrim

“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” ~ Peace Pilgrim


 

><><><><

Stay in touch.

Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/PeacefulWays/events/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peacefulways

><><><><

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com


 

><><><><

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who hopes to inspire people to live lives that matter. He is a promoter of peace who believes that Heaven is here, if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living, and organizes Silent Peace Walks.

Songs as Faithful Companions

Joni Mitchell’s ability to carefully choose words to convey emotions is admirable. Two of her songs — Down to You and Shadows and Light — have been my faithful companions since my youth. I guess we are still together after all these years because as I change, I keep discovering something new in them. These are poignant chants that remind me of the impermanence of all things, that change is the only constant in life, that the pleasant does not exist without the unpleasant, and that good and bad, right and wrong, reside in all of us. Great wisdom through inspired, sublime poetry!

><

Down to you

(first and last strophes)

Everything comes and goes
Marked by lovers and styles of clothes
Things that you held high
And told yourself were true
Lost or changing as the days come down to you
Down to you
Constant stranger
You’re a kind person
You’re a cold person too
It’s down to you
It all comes down to you

Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you’re thinking
You’ve finally got it made
Bad news comes knocking
At your garden gate
Knocking for you
Constant stranger
You’re a brute you’re an angel
You can crawl you can fly too
It’s down to you
It all comes down to you

Joni Mitchell © 1973; Crazy Crow Music

><

Shadows And Light

Every picture has its shadows
And it has some source of light
Blindness blindness and sight

The perils of benefactors
The blessings of parasites
Blindness blindness and sight

Threatened by all things
Devil of cruelty
Drawn to all things
Devil of delight
Mythical devil of the ever-present laws
Governing blindness blindness and sight

Suntans in reservation dining rooms
Pale miners in their lantern rays
Night night and day

Hostage smile on presidents
Freedom scribbled in the subway
It’s like night night and day

Threatened by all things
God of cruelty
Drawn to all things
God of delight
Mythical god of the everlasting laws
Governing day day and night

Critics of all expression
Judges in black and white
Saying it’s wrong saying it’s right

Compelled by prescribed standards
Or some ideals we fight
For wrong wrong and right

Threatened by all things
Man of cruelty-mark of Cain
Drawn to all things
Man of delight-born again born again
Man of the laws the ever-broken laws
Governing wrong wrong and right
Governing wrong wrong and right
Wrong and right

Joni Mitchell © 1975; Crazy Crow Music


 

><

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

><

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.MindfulSouthFlorida.com


 

Walking at Omega, 2014

Ted DesMaisons is an instructor of the Mindfulness in Schools Project, and a great human being. I feel fortunate for having had him as one of those who prepared me to properly teach mindfulness for children and adolescents. What follows was written by him. Enjoy!

><><><><><

by Ted DesMaisons:

Simple summer moments can prove so sweet.

I just recently returned from a wonderful retreat at the Omega Institute with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) luminaries Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli. We spent most of our time in the first few days engaged in mindfulness practice, cycling through sitting, walking, lying down and yoga meditations. Six AM to 9 PM, almost non-stop makes an endurance challenge, for sure, but it also brings a steadier mind and more open awareness. On one of our extended walking meditations, with 100 or so of us spread across one of Omega’s great lawns as the day’s light faded, the heart of the following poem came to me.

Here’s hoping the moment speaks to you as well.

. . . . .

Walking at Omega, 2014

We move over this open field like
early evening fireflies,
flickering lamps of awareness
in measured motion,
dancing with
the oncoming dark.

Each floats and pauses
under her own power;
Each honors his own track.
Still, we sense each other
in the soft periphery,
conjoined in pulsing multitude.

Surely, we are not alone.

Like any lights,
we, too, will someday extinguish,
falling into
that great darkness
which births
and swallows
all things.

For now, though
—in this moment—
let our hearts rest
in quiet reassurance,
this field of quiet fires
ever available
for those
who choose to see.

~ Ted DesMaisons

Walking at Omega, 2014

 

No Mind – Mushin No Shin

The Last Samurai is a 2003 movie that tells the story of the changes that took place in Japan in the late 19th century, and in the life of a man who learns mindfulness.

In the movie, an American mercenary (Tom Cruise) is captured in battle and taken to live among those he was fighting against. After some time, although still a prisoner, he is allowed to live just as any other member of the community. He begins to participate in many of the village activities, such as samurai sword-fighting training. In the beginning, his performance is awful. After many defeats in the practice fights, he is told that he has “too many minds,” and is advised to have “no mind.” He is told to let go of the many thoughts that are crowding his head, thoughts that do not allow him to focus on the here-now.

Once he learns to reduce the overthinking and increase his present-moment-mindfulness, he begins to reach that flow state that brings about noticeable improvements in his performance. With time, he learns the Bushido tradition — the code of the samurai — and becomes more grounded, centered and present. Experiencing greater peace of mind, he grows in respect for the samurai way of life.

><

Mushin is a Japanese word that means no mind.

Mushin no shin is a Zen expression that can be translated as the mind without mind, a mental state of no-mindness where there is an absence of discursive thought and judgment.

Through practice one can learn how to be in this no mind state. This is desirable because a person whose mind is not occupied by distracting thoughts and emotions is better able to act and react freely, without hesitation.

The Zen master Takuan Sōhō said, “The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it means death. When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy’s sword movements. He just stands there with his sword which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man’s subconscious that strikes” 

Once Mushin is attained through practices that refine the mind, the objective is to then attain this same level of complete awareness in other aspects of the practitioner’s life.

Mindfulness practices are used to train the mind and equip practitioners with that present-moment awareness that leads to more mindful ways of living which, in turn, enhance the overall well-being and quality of life.

><

Credits: A big part of this text is based on the Wikipedia article Mushin (mental state).


 

><><><><

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

><><><><

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org


 

><><><><

 

9 Ls

Look deeply. Listen attentively. Learn unceasingly. Lead compassionately. Laugh unboundedly. Love profusely. Live fully. Let go of everything. Leave an honorable legacy.


 

><><><><

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

><><><><

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

South Florida Center for Mindfulness

www.MindfulSouthFlorida.com

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com


 

><><><><

 

Early April Mornings in Athlone

Cold air and long shadows. Trees waking up after a long sleep. Fresh bulbs and little leaves decorating branches tired of a long fight with the winter winds. Pigeons and crows protecting their nests. A coming back to life.

And an infinite number of diamonds floating down the river Shannon, shining jewels that can only be seen in this present moment, but cannot be kept for later enjoyment, just like every single moment of our lives.

~ Piero Falci

Athlone, Ireland, April 2, 2017

 


 

><><><><

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as designed by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

><><><><

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

South Florida Center for Mindfulness

www.MindfulSouthFlorida.com

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com


 

><><><><